Russia's rotational assumption of the presidency of the UN Security Council has met with sharp criticism in Kiev. In view of the Russian war of aggression against his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj spoke of an "absurd and destructive" constellation and called for reform of the highest body of the United Nations.
In the past, Kiev had doubted that Russia had legitimately taken over the permanent seat on the Security Council as the successor to the Soviet Union. In addition to Russia, the United States, Great Britain, France and China are permanent Council members with veto powers.
Security Council compromised by Russia
Only the day before, a five-month-old baby had been killed by Russian artillery fire, and now the aggressor is taking over the presidency of the UN Security Council, Zelenskyj criticized in his evening video address on Saturday. "It is hard to imagine anything better demonstrating the complete bankruptcy of such institutions." Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the leadership role as a "bad April Fool's joke".
The presidency of the Security Council rotates monthly between the member states in alphabetical order, with the five permanent and the ten non-permanent members taking turns. Russia last held the presidency in February 2022 - when it invaded neighboring Ukraine.
But Zelenskyy also had positive things to announce for his compatriots. Ukraine emerged stronger from the week, said the head of state. Among other things, he thanked Germany for the military aid. A few days ago, the arrival of German Marder and Leopard 2 armored personnel carriers and battle tanks in the Ukraine became known. Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Switzerland for having now joined the EU sanctions against Russia.
Ukraine orders 100 Rosomak wheeled infantry fighting vehicles
In order to be able to better fight back the Russian attackers, the Ukraine ordered 100 new wheeled infantry fighting vehicles of the type KTO Rosomak in Poland. According to the PAP news agency, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday during a visit to the manufacturing company Rosomak in Siemianowice Slaskie in Upper Silesia. According to the liberal-conservative politician, he personally received the order from the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal. The order will be financed with EU money for Poland and support payments from the USA to Ukraine, it said.
Russia increases ammunition production
But the other side is also upgrading. According to its own statements, Russia has increased its ammunition production many times over. "This applies to both ordinary and high-precision ammunition," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a General Staff meeting on Saturday. This would allow Russia to achieve its war goals. In addition, work is continuing to increase production. Schoigu's statements could not be independently verified.
More than a year after the start of the war, both Ukraine and Russia are struggling with a lack of ammunition. The West, on whose supplies Ukraine's national defense depends, is also trying to expand its production. Months ago, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin called on the domestic arms industry to produce more weapons and ammunition. The companies work in a multi-shift system in order to meet the requirements of the military.
Ukraine imposes new sanctions on Russia
Ukraine, meanwhile, imposed further sanctions against individuals and companies from Russia and against a company on Russian-held Ukrainian territory. On Saturday, President Zelenskyi published several blacklists with hundreds of companies, organizations and individuals who are said to have supported the Russian war of aggression. In most cases, the sanctions apply for a period of ten years.
The directors of armaments factories and military research institutions are particularly affected. This sector is also particularly affected by companies. But sanctions were also imposed on Russia's Treasury Ministry and the Federation Council - the upper house of Russia's parliament. Among the most prominent names on the list are the wife and son of Russia's ex-president Dmitry Medvedev, Svetlana and Ilya.
House arrest for the head of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Meanwhile, judicial sanctions overtook the head of the world-famous Kiev Cave Monastery, Pavlo Lebid. He was placed under house arrest for two months. The cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is suspected of fueling religious disputes and justifying Russia's war of aggression, Ukrainian media reported from the courtroom. The monastery head must now wear electronic ankle bracelets. Contact with believers is forbidden to him. The 61-year-old denies the allegations and speaks of a political process.
The background to this are disputes about the use of the cave monastery and the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country in general. Until the beginning of the war, the church was subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate. Although she broke away from the patriarchate after the beginning of the conflict, she is still suspected of espionage and agitation for Moscow by the political leadership in Kiev. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, independent of Moscow, was founded in Kiev in 2018. In this context, the state has now withdrawn the right to use the cave monastery from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But the monks living there refuse to move out. A court case is ongoing.
What is important today
Fighting in eastern Ukraine, especially around the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, continues. In Kiev, supporters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are expected to react to the house arrest of the head of the Cave Monastery.